Opinion: BJJ White Belts Shouldn’t Have Their Own “Style”

Opinion: BJJ White Belts Shouldn’t Have Their Own “Style”

Being a BJJ white belt is a stressful period in one’s Jiu-Jitsu life. It’s full of failures, doubts about whether or not you’re really “cut out” for this martial art… And if you should keep training. However, if you persevere and keep going, you’ll find out that being a white belt is fantastic as well; that feeling of finally being able to execute a technique is like none other. And you’ll become hooked to it.
But here’s the thing. Even if you’re infatuated with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu right now, that still doesn’t mean that you should try and develop a “style”. You shouldn’t try and develop your own BJJ game just yet.


It’s simple, really… Let’s say that you just began playing chess. And you wanted to develop your own style, your own game – even though you barely know how the pieces move on the chessboard. Now, wouldn’t that be ludicrous?
Of course it would. It makes no sense! For, how are you supposed to figure out your own game if you don’t know how the “overall game” works in and of itself?

Trying to figure out and then develop your own style as a BJJ white belt is the same thing. You should not be doing this until you have been exposed to all general techniques and positions of the Gentle Art – and until you’ve spent a fair share of time drilling and using them.

The Pitfalls of Premature Specialization

Focusing on a personalized style too early can lead to several issues:

  1. Narrow Focus: BJJ is vast, with numerous techniques and positions. By prematurely narrowing focus, white belts may miss learning vital aspects of the sport.
  2. Misunderstanding Techniques: Without a broad base, it’s easy to misunderstand or misapply techniques, which can be hard to unlearn later.
  3. Lack of Adaptability: BJJ is about adaptation. A rigid style developed too early can make it difficult to adjust to different opponents or situations.

The Joy of Discovery and the Road to Mastery

BJJ, at its core, is a journey of discovery. As white belts progress, they naturally gravitate towards techniques and strategies that suit their body type and personality. This gradual process of exploration and experimentation is crucial. It allows practitioners to fully understand the “why” and “how” of various techniques, rather than just mimicking them. This understanding is what eventually leads to mastery and the development of a personal style that is both effective and unique.

Patience Leads to Personalization

In conclusion, while it’s tempting for BJJ white belts to rush into developing their own style, patience and a focus on fundamentals are far more beneficial. It’s through a deep understanding and application of basic techniques that a truly effective and personalized style emerges. Like any great art, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu requires a solid foundation before the nuances of individual expression can truly shine.